KOCHI: The vision: Ring in a green living environment. The aim: Switch to electric mobility and reduce air pollution. The immediate plan: Encourage commuters to opt for the public transport system. Kochi is set to establish a transport network integrating rail, road and water transport with stress on an electric mode of operation. The success of Kochi Metro - which has changed the perception of public transport in the city by providing a convenient and dignified mode of mass transit - has prompted the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) to submit a proposal to the state government for the introduction of a 10.1-km-long Light Metro corridor connecting Ernakulam and Fort Kochi.
The development of two Dedicated Rapid Transit (DRT) systems to improve connectivity is part of the plan. According to sources, the Light Metro project is likely to be included in the Governor's speech in the Budget session of the state Assembly. The plan is to encourage commuters to switch over to the public transport system and thus ensure quality air and a better living environment for the city dwellers.
The state can avail of the Green Urban Mobility Fund offered by the Centre under the National Urban Transport Policy for bringing in a revolution in the public transport system, said KMRL urban transport division additional general manager G P Hari at a consultative meeting on improving air quality in Kochi. The meeting was organised by the City Corporation in association with NGO Clean Air Asia and French auto parts manufacturer Faurecia."The registration process of the Metropolitan Transport Authority will be completed by the end of December.
We had submitted an application for development of two DRT corridors last week. The second proposal is the development of a 10.1-km-long Light Rail transit system between Ernakulam city and Fort Kochi. For the first time in the country, we are making autorickshaws a part of the urban mobility system. Electric autorickshaws will pick up the passengers from home and drop them at the boarding point of the public transport network. The Kochi Metro card can be used for using autorickshaws also," he said.
"We have submitted a proposal for the preparation of a detailed project report on the Light Rail transport system in the city. The plan is to operate the service between Goshree and Fort Kochi connecting Vypeen. Another proposal is to conduct a feasibility study for the development of two Dedicated Rapid Transit systems in line with the Ahmedabad BRT corridor. The first one is a 52-km Bus Express corridor connecting Kodungallur and Eramalloor. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 728.42 crore. While the average construction cost of the Metro rail is Rs 210 crore per km, the DRT can be developed at an expense of Rs 14.11 crore per km," said a KMRL official.
According to Hari, the main aim is to switch to electric mobility and reduce the air pollution levels in the city. "The use of public transport stands at 45 per cent in Kochi city and the figure is reducing at the rate of 2-3 per cent per year. The increase in the number of private vehicles has led to traffic congestion and sharp rise in air pollution. We are launching the Water Metro with 78 boats this year. It will provide transportation facility for 25,000 people per day," he added.
Mayor Soumini Jain, Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development director C Rajan, Nansen Environmental Research Centre scientist G Bindu and Cusat School of Environmental Studies director Rajathy Sivalingam participated in the meeting.